Santa Barbara Section 7

Isla Vista to Goleta Beach County Park

Santa Barbara Section 7

Isla Vista to Goleta Beach County Park

This short section follows the residential blufftop through the student community of Isla Vista, then passes through a corner of the University of California, Santa Barbara campus before dropping to follow a tideline popular with the students. It ends by passing the length of Goleta Beach County Park. If you plan your visit to coincide with a tide below +2.0 feet, you can avoid the student ghetto and walk the shoreline for virtually the entire section's length.

From the on-street parking area, follow the dirt path south toward the shore. In 250 feet you approach the top of a stairway to the beach. At tides below +2.0 feet you may be able to walk the beach east below residential Isla Vista to get to Goleta Point at 2⅛ miles, but since the beach is impassable at most tides except perhaps in summer, our described CCT route turns left before the top of the stairs and follows the blufftop path east, coming to the lawn of Gallney Park at ⅛ mile. Walk the path through the park, coming to Del Playa Drive by ¼ mile.
Follow the street or its intermittent sidewalks east. By ⅜ mile you pass a coastal access stairway at the end of Camino del Sur. (These stairs were closed at press time.) Continue along Del Playa to ⅝ mile where the Pescadero Bluff mini-Park offers another stairway where you can descend to the beach. In May 1999 you could walk the beach east from here at tides below +3.0 feet.

If you cannot head east on the beach from there, continue east on Del Playa, soon passing a vehicle barrier that prevents through auto traffic. At ⅞ mile the street ends. Follow the path that veers to the right where a bike path veers left, and cross a cul-de-sac. Then follow the dirt path east along the blufftop. The area of vacant lots looks like an urban wasteland but you're following a designated "coastal access path" on the UC Santa Barbara campus. The trail descends to the beach at 2 miles, joining the beach route there. Turn left and walk the tideline east to Goleta Point at 2⅛ miles.
After rounding the point, walk a rocky beach, soon coming to sandy Campus Beach. Cross the usually dry outlet to a wetland on your left between 2¼ and 2⅜ miles. After passing restroom, you must scramble a over rocks briefly, then walk a narrow beach below 50-foot bluffs with university buildings on top. After you pass a stairway at 2⅝ miles (closed at press time), the narrow beach broadens then narrows again at a rocky point on the cliff before 2¾ miles. It broadens until another narrow point beyond 2⅞ miles where you need to pick your way over seaweed draped rocks or perhaps wade briefly if the tide is above +3.0 feet.

Walk a sandy beach to its end at 3⅛ miles. Then you need to walk a slick rock shell briefly, then scramble up rocks to the low blufftop to get around a low a rocky point with a natural bridge. Turn right and walk the dusty blufftop east for 200 feet to the westernmost paved parking lot of Goleta Beach County Park.

Walk east along the tideline of the beach or through the parking lot. You reach the Goleta Pier at 3 11/16 miles. Continue east through the parking lot to its east end at 3¾ miles, start of Santa Barbara Section 8.

ALTERNATE ROUTE: Walk the beach all the way if the tide is below +2.0 feet.

SUGGESTED ROUND TRIPS & LOOPS: Walk the beach from either end, preferably at low tide.

Distance: 3¾ miles (6.0 kilometers).

Open to: Hikers, dogs. Bicyclists on street and blufftop portions.

Surface: Trail, streets, beach.

Access point: In Isla Vista at the corner of Camino Majorca and Del Playa Drive.

How to get there: Exit Highway 101 at Storke Road west of Santa Barbara and go south for 1.3 miles, then go left on El Colegio Road for one long block, then go right on Camino Corto to its end. Turn right and drive Del Playa Drive for 2 blocks to its end at Camino Majorca.

Other access: Anywhere along Del Playa Drive.

Difficulty: Easy

Elevation gain/loss: 20 feet+/40 feet-.

Cautions: Use caution on slippery tidal rocks.

Further information: Goleta Beach County Park (805)967-1300.

Facilities: Restrooms and water at 2⅜ miles. Restrooms, water, phones, picnic areas and seasonal store at south end.

Campgrounds: El Capitan State Park 10 miles west has 142 units on the state park reservation system plus several hike/bike sites.

Lodging: Many choices in Santa Barbara and Goleta. Banana Bungalow, Santa Barbara (805)963-0154.

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